Posts Tagged ‘squash’

We tried. We really did. Being vigilant about searching for and destroying eggs, watching for any signs of damage — we did it all. But it still didn’t work. The damn squash vine borer got our zucchini and yellow squash.

This shows squash vine borer damage on our zucchini plant. The frass is a sign of an infestation.

This shows squash vine borer damage on our zucchini plant. The frass is a sign of an infestation.

I noticed the tell-tale signs of frass a couple weeks ago. It looks a lot like sawdust and it meant our summer squash plants would die soon. That’s when I sprung into action and tried the Bt to stop the grubby invaders.

I’ve mentioned this before but for those who don’t know, Bt is a natural bacteria that messes with the borer’s digestion when they eat it. So as soon as we noticed the frass, I was armed with my garden syringe and a jug of Bt (it has to be mixed with water), stabbing away at the stems and injecting the solution.

This was the first time I tried using the Bt solution, and you know what? It worked like a charm. The zucchini plant has rebounded (for the most part), and there are even a couple growing again!

Even if we don’t get any more, I’ll at least count this as a success.

Related: How to control SVB

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Meera, left, and Rajah.

Meera, left, and Rajah.

These two adorable creatures were the inspiration for adding more growing space to our garden. As you can probably imagine, having two cats means we go through quite a bit of cat litter.

When the containers were empty, they started to pile up in our laundry room. We planned to recycle them but kept forgetting to take them out. Now I’m glad we were so forgetful. These have come in pretty hand and allowed us to plant even more.

To start, we washed out each container and drilled a bunch of holes in the bottom. Then we filled it about 2/3 of the way with shredded leaves (which we never have a shortage of each year) and added topsoil and compost to each. The leaves help use less dirt and compact a bit to help provide some extra drainage.

They're not pretty, but they work.

They’re not pretty, but they work.

I admit, the bright yellow is tacky and next year I plan to paint them a more neutral color. They’re perfect for plants that need more space or a deep area to grow. We have tomato plants in two of them, squash and zucchini in two more, and two pepper plants in others. Another added benefit is you can move the plants around based on sun or shade needs.

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We’ve officially lost all but two of our summer squash plants. The zucchini plants are still doing OK, but we’re probably going to lose one of them. The leaves are turning yellow, some are wilting and it seems like there is some powdery mildew on others.

The zucchini has powdery mildew but is recovering after we sprayed it with milk solution.

The zucchini has powdery mildew but is recovering after we sprayed it with milk solution.

Powdery mildew is pretty common and widespread, and it is usually humidity and cool nights that create ideal conditions for it to grow.

To help control it, we’ve been using a mix of baking soda and water.┬áIt’s about a teaspoon of baking soda to a quart of water.

I also read that milk and water (1 part milk to nine parts water) can help.

We have tried dousing the leaves with both solutions and it seems to be working.

The milk solution appears to be the better of the two, and we mixed about three parts, so our spray was about three ounces of milk to 32 ounces of water.

There are still some baby zucchini and flowers on the plants, so we might get a few more later.

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Transplanted volunteers waiting for their "forever home."

Transplanted volunteers waiting for their “forever home.”

Earlier this spring I wrote about a random plant making an appearance. After weeding the rest of the bed, I dug out these two seedlings and put them in small containers left over from vegetable transplants we usually buy at the garden center.

I suspect one is squash because it sprouted where we had a zucchini or yellow squash plant last year. The other was closer to the trellis, so my best guess is that it’s a cucumber.

We’re going to let them grow a little more and get sturdier before putting them in a larger pot. It’d be great if these volunteers actually turn into viable plants. If nothing else, it will save us a few bucks this season.

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